Smiling makes us happier: enhancing positive mood and communication with smile-encouraging digital appliances
William James, the noted psychologist and philosopher, believed that smiling has a positive effect on our mind. James' view, which was confirmed by several psychological studies, was that we become happier when we laugh. In this paper, we propose a new digital appliance that encourages the act of smiling in our daily lives. This system is designed for people who may not always realize when they are in low spirits and/or have difficulty with smiling. In addition, we believe that this system will foster casual conversation and prompt communications with other people. Our appliance, called the HappinessCounter, combines visual smile recognition, user feedback, and network communication. We conducted two trials of the HappinessCounter system, the first with a single occupant and the second with a couple living together. The system had positive effects on user's mood and prompted communication among family members, thereby increasing their positive mood as well.